Kadokawa Uses Electronic Fingerprints to Benefit From YouTube

Jan 28, 2008
Tomohisa Takei, Nikkei Electronics
Speakers at the press conference: From left, Tadashi Fukuda of Kadokawa Digix, David Eun of Google, Tsuguhiko Kadokawa of Kadokawa Group Holdings and Norio Murakami, vice president of Google and president of Google Japan.
Speakers at the press conference: From left, Tadashi Fukuda of Kadokawa Digix, David Eun of Google, Tsuguhiko Kadokawa of Kadokawa Group Holdings and Norio Murakami, vice president of Google and president of Google Japan.
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Example screenshots of content posted with the permission of the Kadokawa Group: A mark claiming that the content belongs to the Group is displayed on the right side of the window for image display and ads are inserted. The system also uses YouTube's new feature called In Video Ad, which superpose translucent ads on the image.
Example screenshots of content posted with the permission of the Kadokawa Group: A mark claiming that the content belongs to the Group is displayed on the right side of the window for image display and ads are inserted. The system also uses YouTube's new feature called In Video Ad, which superpose translucent ads on the image.
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A warning screen will appear when a user tries to post content owned by the Kadokawa Group.
A warning screen will appear when a user tries to post content owned by the Kadokawa Group.
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Example screenshots of the Kadokawa Group's official Website, slated for launch in February 2008
Example screenshots of the Kadokawa Group's official Website, slated for launch in February 2008
[ If it clicks, the expanded picture will open ]

Kadokawa Group Holdings Inc and Google Inc announced at a joint press conference on Jan 25, 2008, that they will launch a new business on the YouTube video-sharing Website run by Google's affiliate YouTube Llc.

"Content is the global language," said Tsuguhiko Kadokawa, chairman and CEO of the Kadokawa Group. "We hope to become an international content provider by leveraging a collaborative relationship with Google and YouTube."

Under the leadership of one of its subsidiaries, Kadokawa Digix Inc, the Group has been participating in a feasibility test of video recognition technology under development by Google and YouTube. Based on the digital fingerprinting, it allows the differentiation of content by checking images posted by users against those previously registered by the right holders.

The companies started the development of the recognition technology in late 2006, and YouTube unveiled the beta version in October 2007.

Kadokawa Group decided to launch the new business because the recognition technology has been improved to the level that "almost all Kadokawa's video clips currently uploaded were recognized" in the feasibility test (Tadashi Fukuda, president of Kadokawa Digix).

"I used to think that we had to protect our content from being posted on Websites because they are infringed and illegally used for free," Fukuda said. "But now YouTube can be a platform to recognize the right holders of user uploaded images and distribute part of the earned profit to the right holders."

Decision whether or not to delete is made after auto-recognition

Kadokawa Group plans to start the operation of the video recognition technology to detect the uploading of content that belongs to the Group based on the reference database provided to YouTube. When the system detects that the Group's content is posted, the Group decides whether to delete it or to permit it to remain posted.

In the latter case, the Group embeds a mark in the content to claim the copyright. The Group also places banner ads or "In Video Ad," an overlapping advertisement displayed on the images, and put links to DVD shopping sites. The Group plans to pay part of the income generated from the advertisements to the right holders. The Group will indicate an alert screen to users who try to post copyrighted content.

"It is a major advantage that we are given the right to decide whether or not to delete the content," Fukuda said.

David Eun, Vice President and Content Partnerships of Google, suggested that the company intends to strengthen the partnership with content providers in Japan.

"Content that users find interesting can create business opportunity," he said. "As the foundation to take advantage of such opportunity, we will be able to build a platform that is satisfactory to content right holders in Japan."